You can't discuss public health in America without mentioning the organizations that keep it in good shape - especially an agency like the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Whether it's providing health insurance, access to key medicines or fostering groundbreaking research, there are several pieces to the public health puzzle and it takes many agencies and partner groups to put them together. This time around, I've chosen to explore America's largest and most influential public health office - and the one that sets the pace toward becoming a healthier society.
What is HHS?
HHS is a cabinet-level federal agency charged with providing essential public health resources to assist those in need. Through services and research, HHS works to improve upon the quality of life of all Americans. Originally part of the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, HHS became its own office in 1979. In the nearly four decades since, the agency has managed a wide array of programs that help safeguard the health and wellbeing of millions in our country.
What does HHS do?
HHS oversees 11 unique divisions, all of which control various aspects of public health and human services in the United States. In addition to longstanding and successful health care programs like Medicare and Medicaid, HHS manages other vital social initiatives such as Head Start, which helps children from low-income families get ready for school, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, a program that helps struggling families get back on their feet. Through the work of its 80,000 employees, HHS helps ensure good health and happiness for Americans of all ages, locations and backgrounds.
Why does HHS matter?
This question actually has a simple answer: HHS is our nation's highest and most wide-reaching authority on all things health. So, it's no surprise that the department administers more grant money than all other federal agencies combined. It provides coverage to more than 100 million people through the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. It guarantees the safety of our everyday products and important medicines through the Food and Drug Administration. It funds and conducts crucial research to further our understanding and progress in health, medicines and social science. For all these reasons, and many more, HHS matters a great deal to all of us.
To learn more about HHS and its work to make our lives better, visit the department's website and follow them online at @HHSGov. Be sure to check back in with us at @ModernMeds as we continue to explore the many dedicated organizations that strive for improving public health in America!